Every improvisation needs to start somewhere. And more often than not the trick is just to get started. There’s nothing to plan. Time will tell where you end up. If it’s any good the end destination might surprise you. After all, you wouldn’t be exploring if you end up in the same spot, with the same result as last time.
The power of prompts is an example of this. You just let any arbitrary starting point be the fuse to send you off. Somehow, I got it all wrong I figured that prompts were for beginners, for students. I’ve later realized that skilled writers and poets might use prompts too, just to get started.
Disquiet Junto is a weekly musical prompt that takes you out of the comfort zone very fast. I do these from time to time. Not because my end result is fantastic, it never is. But quite often, it turns out to be interesting. Because I wouldn’t go there on my own.
Yesterday was the deadline for Disquiet 0540.
Disquiet Junto Project 0540: 5ive 4our
The Assignment: Take back 5/4 for Jedi time masters Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond
Step 1: The day before this project began was May 4, which has been claimed by a fantasy from a galaxy far far away. Prepare to reclaim the day for the late jazz pianist Dave Brubeck and saxophonist Paul Desmond.
Step 2: Now, in honor of Dave Brubeck’s classic recording of the Paul Desmond composition “Take Five,” record something original in 5/4 time.
This is what I did:
Playing music in 5/4 is definitely outside the comfort zone of my musicianship. I started with programming a simple drum beat. Then I generated some electric piano. Added some chords on top, a bass synth playing long notes and an 808 drum machine playing hihat-patterns. I tried a while to solo on guitar over it all, but it sounded like crap. All in all, it was an hour of fun.
Here’s what I ended up with: